Explaining the Seven AKC Dog Breed Groups: Hound Group Dogs

Matt Matasci Matt Matasci · Updated: May 3, 2023 / Published: August 20, 2022

For new dog owners, choosing the right breed may feel overwhelming. The American Kennel Club officially recognizes nearly 200 breeds — so there’s plenty of choices! Narrowing your search to just one dog group may make choosing your new best friend a little bit easier.

If you’re an established breeder, it’s helpful to develop your knowledge of different breeds. Are you satisfied with the current breed you work with but have an interest in expanding your business?

Offering additional breeds is a great way to capture a larger market and, with the help of a trusted pet transporter like CitizenShipper, expand to a nationwide audience. Understanding all of the dog groups, their typical behaviors, lifestyle preferences and how to take care of them is the first step in branching out to a new breed.

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The AKC uses seven distinct dog groupings: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding. No two dog breeds are exactly the same, but there are many common characteristics in each group.

Our Dog Breed Group series will take a closer look at each group. We’ll provide some general characteristics of the group’s most popular breeds, including health and exercise needs, grooming tips and more.

Hound Group Dogs at a Glance

What do you picture when you think of Hound Dogs? Is it a droopy-eyed, long-eared basset hound lumbering along as he tracks a bad guy’s trail? Or maybe a cute little beagle snuggled up with her family?

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Hounds are one of the most heterogeneous AKC dog groups. There’s no one-size-fits-all generalization that can be made about Hound Group Dogs. The only characteristic all hounds share is they were bred to hunt.

This hunting background means many of the Hound Group Dogs have great stamina; they were bred to relentlessly pursue prey. Hound Group Dogs are divided into two groups — sighthounds and scent hounds.

  • Sighthounds use their sharp eyesight spot quarry and chase it down. 
  • Scent hounds put their strong sense of smell to use by following long scent trails.

The difference between Hounds and Gun Dogs (part of the Sporting Group) is that Hound Group Dogs don’t retrieve fallen game. They work more independently though some breeds work in a pack.

Hounds are exceptionally popular pets. For example, beagles and dachshunds rank in the top 10 most popular breeds in America. This popularity means there’s a strong demand for the dogs — though it also means that competition from other breeders is fierce. Developing an online breeding business that reaches customers anywhere in the country gives you an advantage over the competition.

Popular Breeds in the Hound Group

Beagles are the seventh most popular breed overall in 2021


It’s hard to say whether it’s the lovable face, a fun-loving temperament or high levels of affection that make the beagle the most popular hound in the United States. It’s the seventh most popular breed overall in 2021. The beagle was first recognized as a breed by AKC in 1885.

  • A relatively compact size makes beagles feel at home in almost any setting. 
  • Beagles have a high level of playfulness and are great with kids. 
  • Because beagles were bred to hunt in packs, they get along well with other dogs.
  • They usually weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.
  • Their life expectancy ranges from 12 to 15 years.

Responsible Breeders Test Beagles For:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • MLS DNA Test

For more information read the official National Beagle Club of America health statement.

Beagle Grooming Tips

  • Beagles have a dense double coat that thickens in the winter. 
  • Be prepared for heavier shedding in the spring. 
  • Brush Beagles on a weekly basis.
  • Beagles don’t need frequent bathing. 

Beagle Exercise and Training Needs

  • Beagles need about an hour of exercise each day.
  • He’ll prefer activities with other dogs.
  • If you care about your shoes, don’t leave your Beagle alone for long periods of time; a human or canine companion will ease separation anxiety.
  • Ensure any outdoor play area is well secured. Beagles are diggers and escape artists — if there’s a way out, he will find it.
  • When walking with a Beagle, always use a leash because he’ll pursue any and all interesting scents he comes across.
  • Positive reinforcement is the best approach to training a Beagle. Harsh techniques will only backfire. 
Dachshunds are the 10th most popular breed overall in 2021


Affectionately referred to as “weiner dogs” or “sausage dogs,” these vivacious dogs are full of spunk and energy. The dachshund breed is the 10th most popular breed in America. The breed was first recognized by AKC in 1885. 

  • While all dachshunds are long and short, they come in a variety of sizes and coats.
  • Standard size dachshunds range from 16 to 32 pounds while miniature dachshunds are usually under 11 pounds. 
  • Unlike the vast majority of breeds, there are no recommended health tests from the National Breed Club. For more more information read the Dachshund Club of America health statement.
  • Dachshunds have a life expectancy between 12 and 16 years. 

Dachshund Grooming Tips

  • Dachshund coats can be smooth, wirehaired or long-haired.
  • They’re very clean dogs, don’t shed much and have little body odor.
  • Smooth dachshunds need very little cleaning beyond a wipe down with a towel.
  • Long-haired and wirehaired dachshunds require slightly more maintenance. 

Dachshund Exercise and Training Needs

  • Despite their short legs that keep them from running or swimming long distances, these dogs have an abundance of energy and love to play.
  • Because of their lengthy build, dachshunds need regular exercise to build up muscles to support their back.
  • Don’t allow your dachshund to jump off furniture or run up and down stairs. These activities could hurt her back.
Basset hounds are the 34th most popular breed overall in 2021

Basset Hound

The basset hound is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable dog breeds. Its long, floppy ears and low-key personality are just two reasons it’s the 34th most popular dog in America. The basset hound was first recognized as a breed by AKC in 1885.

  • Despite a reputation for being low energy, basset hounds have great strength and stamina. 
  • Basset hounds are stubborn and can be difficult to train.
  • Despite the low energy, they have a playful side.
  • The average weight of a basset hound ranges from 40 to 65 pounds.
  • Basset Hounds are some of the drooliest creatures in the animal kingdom!

Responsible Breeders Test Basset Hounds For:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Luxating patella

For more information read the Basset Hound Club of America health statement.

Basset Hound Grooming Tips

  • Despite having a short, smooth coat, basset hounds require regular grooming. 
  • Basset hounds shed heavily — control the shedding by brushing him once a week.
  • An occasional bath keeps your basset hound’s coat shiny and clean.
  • More than other breeds, it’s important to regularly brush your basset hound’s teeth with specially formulated canine toothpaste. 
  • Routinely inspect his long, droopy ears for infection. 

Basset Hound Exercise and Training Needs

  • Basset hounds require regular moderate exercise each day. 
  • A daily walk at a medium pace prevents him from becoming overweight.
  • This breed was raised to work in packs so he’ll get along well with other dogs.
  • Training will be a challenge due to the independent nature of the breed.
  • It’s possible to train a basset hound, it just takes patience and consistency.
  • Early socialization is important.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the 41st most popular breed overall in 2021

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks don’t resemble the first three hounds on this list — in fact, their body type is much more akin to a Sporting Breed. Ridgebacks are characterized by long legs, a short smooth coat and a slim build. Their defining feature is a “ridge” of backwards-growing hair that runs down the spine. The breed was first recognized by AKC in 1955.

  • Rhodesian ridgebacks are extremely family-oriented and get along well with children. 
  • While they’re great with people, you should keep an eye on them when interacting with other dogs. 
  • Ridgebacks have the perfect level of playfulness — they’re certainly playful, but insatiable like some of the Sporting Group breeds.
  • They are extremely protective.
  • Life expectancy ranges from 10 to 12 years.
  • Rhodesian ridgebacks weigh between 70 and 85 pounds. 

Responsible Breeders Test Rhodesian Ridgebacks For:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Thyroid function 
  • Eye anomalies

Additionally, Rhodesian ridgebacks are particularly susceptible to the congenital defect known as a dermoid sinus. This is a tube-like opening on the midline of the back — though rarely located on the ridge. If a puppy is determined to have a dermoid sinus, a vet can perform surgery to remove it but the puppy can only be pet stock and never used for future breeding.

For more information read the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States health statement.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Grooming Tips

  • Rhodesian ridgebacks require minimal grooming.
  • This breed has a small amount of shedding.
  • Weekly brushing and occasional baths keep her coat glossy and clean. 
  • Ridgebacks don’t like nail clippers; using a nail grinder may be a more effective approach to nail maintenance.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Exercise and Training Needs

  • A Rhodesian ridgeback requires a moderate amount of exercise. 
  • They’re adaptable dogs that handle any living situation so long as they get the appropriate amount of exercise.
  • Long walks and play sessions each day should suffice.
  • Ridgebacks are well-suited for dog sports.
  • This breed has a very strong prey drive and should be kept in an enclosed space when not on a leash.
  • A Rhodesian ridgeback should live indoors with her family.
  • Starting from puppyhood, be firm but patient to offset her strong-willed, independent and even domineering personality.
  • Enroll your Rhodesian ridgeback puppy in socialization and obedience training classes that use positive reinforcement.
Bloodhounds are the 50th most popular breed overall in 2021


The Bloodhound is another famous breed of hound, recognized throughout history for its pinpoint accurate smelling abilities.This breed is the 50th most popular breed in the United States for 2021. Bloodhounds were first recognized as a breed by AKC in 1885.

  • Bloodhounds are defined by their long, droopy faces and ears. 
  • This droopiness results in a significant amount of drool.
  • While they have a reputation as docile dogs, they still love to play and have a decent amount of energy. 
  • While bloodhounds are laid back and passive, if she’s on a scent trail she can be relentless and stubborn.
  • They enjoy the company of children and other dogs. 
  • A male bloodhound can weigh between 90 and 110 pounds; a female bloodhound can weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. 

Responsible Breeders Test Bloodhounds For:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cardiac Exam

Bloodhounds are a barrel-chested breed of dog and are susceptible to bloating, which can be a potentially life-threatening condition. Educate yourself on the symptoms of bloat so your dog can be treated promptly before it gets too serious.

For more information read the official American Bloodhound Club health statement.

Bloodhound Grooming Tips

  • Examine your bloodhound’s ears and skin folds for infection — if there’s any odor or irritation in the folds, wipe with a warm, wet washcloth and dry thoroughly.
  • The bloodhound’s short, dense coat usually sheds once or twice a year.
  • Brush weekly with a medium-bristle brush or a hound glove.
  • Brushing your bloodhound promotes new hair growth and keeps the coat healthy by distributing oils.
  • You need to bathe a bloodhound regularly to prevent bad odors. 

Bloodhound Exercise and Training Needs

  • Despite a reputation for being docile and lazy, bloodhounds need daily exercise.
  • Give him long walks on a leash.
  • Like many hounds, bloodhounds need a well-secured yard space because they’re master diggers and escape artists. 
  • Bloodhounds are stubborn; start training and socialization classes early.
  • Positive reinforcement works best for bloodhounds.

Under the Radar Hound Breeds

Hound group dogs are incredibly popular in America, but there are a few breeds that are harder to come by. Here are five lesser-known Hound Breeds:

Is a Hound Dog Right for Your Family?

Generally Hound Group Dogs are good for families — they’re low-maintenance, have a friendly temperament and are gentle and patient enough to be around kids. However, be sure to research the individual breed because there is a wide variety of personalities in the group.

Elvis famously sang “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog / crying all the time” — and maybe he was talking about some hound breeds’ trademark call: baying. If you’re going to buy a breed from the Hound Group, be prepared for a lot of baying.

Baying is a combination of a howl and a bark, an instinctual cry that alerts hunters that prey is nearby. Hound dog fans find this sound to be a charming quirk, but if you want a quiet dog, you may want to search for another breed. For a quick sample, check out the video below:

Many breeds of hound dog are low maintenance and don’t require an extreme amount of exercise. However, if you’re working full time outside the home or just have a hectic lifestyle, consider hiring a dogwalker. There are many services available — both small local businesses and larger national companies. We always recommend finding a trustworthy friend or neighbor to help out with your dog’s exercise needs, but sometimes that’s just not practical. Wag! is a great way to find trustworthy, dog-loving walkers (as well as many other services).

Hound Dog Breeders and Customers Across the Nation Can Connect with CitizenShipper

If you’re a Hound Group Dog breeder that’s interested in expanding your business to reach customers across the country, you need a transporter you can trust. While there are many transportation companies in the United States, few have the track record and reliability of CitizenShipper.

Over the last 14 years, pet transporters using our platform have safely and successfully delivered thousands of dogs. Like you, these drivers are passionate about dogs and connecting breeders with customers. Whenever you have a puppy transport need, post a listing on CitizenShipper!